unfortunate laborers drifting eastward were only an additional burden upon communities already overloaded with unemployed labor.
Thus the borrowing of foreign capital to put into unprofitable investments, and the employment of great numbers of laborers in making premature developments, met with the consequences which are sure to follow disregard of natural laws.
The management of the Pacific
railroads did not appear to appreciate the wisdom of mitigating, so far as was in their power, the evil which had resulted from their own policy, by giving free transportation to the laborers who had been stranded on the Pacific coast
Hence all the transcontinental roads were soon blocked by lawless seizures of trains, and suffered losses far greater than they saved in transportation.
Indeed, the requisite transportation of destitute laborers eastward would have cost the roads practically nothing, while their losses resulting from not providing it were very great.
Every possible effort was made for a long time to deal effectively with this evil by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings; but such methods proved entirely inadequate.
The government was finally compelled, in consequence of the almost total interruption of interstate commerce and of the transportation of the United States
mails and troops, to assume military control along the lines of all the Pacific
roads, and direct the department commanders to restore and maintain, by military force, traffic and transportation over those roads.
For some time these lawless acts did not seem to result from any general organization.
But they gradually developed into the formidable character of a wide-spread conspiracy and combination, with recognized general leaders, to obstruct and prevent the due execution of the laws of the United States
respecting transportation and interstate commerce.
The principal center of this conspiracy, and by far the most formidable combination,